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BBS: The Documentary Archive

Jason Scott (TEXTFILES.COM)

The BBS Documentary Video Collection is a varied set of video items collected by Jason Scott, curator of TEXTFILES.COM. These are recordings about and from the era of the domination of ASCII and Dial-up Bulletin Board Systems (roughly the 1970s through the 1990s, with examples far before and after that).

Over 250 hours of interviews were conducted for a project called "BBS: The Documentary" (website at bbsdocumentary.com). The questions centered around the history of Dial-up BBSes but sometimes drifted into related topics. Most of the full interviews will be made available on this site over the course of a year.

In each case, an audio file of the interviews will also be made available along with the videotaped material, as well as photographs taken during the interview. All material will be released Creative Commons Attribute-Sharealike and you are encouraged to download, re-edit, share, and otherwise use this material as the foundation for further research.

Click to view the Archive's related Textfiles audio collection.


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BBS: The Documentary Archive
movies
eye 7,572
favorite 2
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Interview of Ken Kaplan, Ben Baker, and Ryugen Fisher (That Old Frog)in St. Louis Missouri, January of 2004. Hour 1 (of 3). Discussion of Fidonet politics, internal issues, triumphs of engineering, influence of Fidonet. Covers some parts of the ARC-ZIP battle, as well as why the various interviewees ultimately left the project. Shot in the same living room in which Fidonet's main implementation was created, at Ken Kaplan's house. The interview began with just Ken Kaplan and Ben Baker, and...
Topics: bbs, bbsdocumentary, interview, ryugen, fisher, ben, baker, ken, kaplan, fidonet
BBS: The Documentary Archive
by Jason Scott Sadofsky
movies
eye 6,075
favorite 1
comment 1
Interview with Philip J. Kaplan, "pud" of FUCKEDCOMPANY.COM, for BBS: The Documentary. Conducted on March 2nd, 2002 in New York City, NY. Questions center around running a BBS, pirate groups, modem costs, what makes a web forum or BBS worthwhile to post on, tips for inciting conversation, and speculations on the personality behind running a BBS. Contains profanity. The interview was conducted in a rehearsal space leased by Mr. Kaplan and his band, and so the sound is unusual in that...
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 1 reviews )
Topic: bbs documentary kaplan
BBS: The Documentary Archive
by Jason Scott Sadofsky
movies
eye 5,410
favorite 2
comment 1
Interview with Ebony Eyes, ANSI artist from the late 1980s, for the BBS Documentary. Conducted on April 26, 2004. The last interview conducted for the BBS Documentary, a few days after the end of Notacon. Conducted with the assistance of RaD Man of ACiD. Subjects covered included working in the ANSI art form, favorite programs for drawing, WWIVnet and politics involved in it, and perspectives on the later ANSI Art Scene of the 1990s.
( 1 reviews )
Topics: bbs, documentary, ebony eyes, ansi
BBS: The Documentary Archive
by Jason Scott Sadofsky
movies
eye 4,330
favorite 3
comment 4
Interview with Tracer, artist for the ANSI art group ACiD. Conducted on March 8, 2004, in New York City, New York. Subjects discussed included ANSI art groups, switching groups based on opportunity, power structures of art groups, creating art in both ANSI and RIP graphics, and which artists Tracer found impressive. Post-BBS events are discussed as well. At the beginning of the interview, a heat pipe clanks occasionally during both questions and answers, and then calms down for the remaining...
favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 4 reviews )
Topics: bbs, documentary, tracer
BBS: The Documentary Archive
by Jason Scott Sadofsky
movies
eye 2,839
favorite 1
comment 0
Interview with Bruce Fancher, Dead Lord of Legion of Doom (LOD) and co-founder of the MindVox bulletin board and internet service provider, conducted on October 13, 2002 in New York City. Topics include TAP meetings, connecting to different bulletin boards, busts, the operations and internals of MindVox, hacker ethics and motivation, and opinions and thoughts about the mid 1990s explosion of interest in internet and politics. Some noise reduction is in place, and the interview was conducted...
Topics: bbs, bruce, fancher, documentary
BBS: The Documentary Archive
by Jason Scott Sadofsky
movies
eye 2,410
favorite 1
comment 0
Interview with b0b lee, maintainer of the Steel Guitar Forum (http://steelguitarforum.com) and creator of the b0badel BBS software package. Conducted in Cloverdale, California on May 31, 2003. I was woken that morning in a hotel in the middle of Cloverdale with the news of the birth of my cousin's daughter, Rhiannon Marie. Interview subjects include the first time b0b encountered BBSes, real life meetings of BBS users, the unique experience of using BBSes, the b0badel software (and comparison...
Topics: bbs, documentary, b0b, lee, citadel
BBS: The Documentary Archive
movies
eye 2,269
favorite 1
comment 0
Interview of Ken Kaplan, Ben Baker, and Ryugen Fisher (That Old Frog)in St. Louis Missouri, January of 2004. Hour 2. Discussion of Fidonet politics, internal issues, triumphs of engineering, influence of Fidonet. Covers calling old ladies by mistake, IFNA, Fidonet Cons, the troubles involved with running it. Shot in the same living room in which Fidonet's main implementation was created, at Ken Kaplan's house. It was during this portion of the interview that Ryugen Fisher (That Old Frog)...
Topics: bbs, bbsdocumentary, interview, ryugen, fisher, ben, baker, ken, kaplan, fidonet
BBS: The Documentary Archive
movies
eye 1,734
favorite 1
comment 0
Interview of Ken Kaplan, Ben Baker, and Ryugen Fisher (That Old Frog)in St. Louis Missouri, January of 2004. Hour 3. Discussion of Fidonet politics, internal issues, triumphs of engineering, influence of Fidonet. Covers some parts of the ARC-ZIP battle, as well as why the various interviewees ultimately left the project. Shot in the same living room in which Fidonet's main implementation was created, at Ken Kaplan's house. Slight video stream corruption (2-3 frames) at the beginning of the...
Topics: bbs, bbsdocumentary, interview, ryugen, fisher, ben, baker, ken, kaplan, fidonet
BBS: The Documentary Archive
by Jason Scott Sadofsky
movies
eye 1,717
favorite 1
comment 0
Interview with Ted Beatie for BBS: The Documentary. Conducted on February 12, 2002 in Cambridge, MA. Discussions cover both the use of early modems, fitting in the dialing in of BBSes into a student's schedule, comparison to the MIT Zephyr and IRC chat systems, and an extended discussion in the experience of Diversi-dials. This interview was conducted in a highly conversational style, with both interviewer and interviewee talking equally at some times. Ted Beatie has a low-volume voice and as a...
Topic: bbs,documentary,beatie
BBS: The Documentary Archive
by Mark Grennan
movies
eye 385
favorite 2
comment 0
From the collection of Mark Grennan, this collection of tapes includes presentations and discussions from the International Fidonet Association's 1987 Board Meeting, as well as the 1988 Board Meeting. It also has a number of presentations regarding FidoNet that were held at some Fidonet gatherings.
Topic: FidoNet Tapes